March 1, 2013
Flames give up three-goal lead to Avalanche

Calgary Flames goalie Joey MacDonald (L) defends as a shot on goal by Colorado Avalanche' Paul Stastny (R) bounces off the pipe in the first period of their NHL hockey game in Denver Feb. 28, 2013. (REUTERS/Rick Wilking)

DENVER - The Calgary Flames couldn’t swipe a young centre from the Colorado Avalanche.

Even worse, they didn’t even leave the Mile High City with two points, either.

The Flames wasted a three-goal lead and squandered two powerplay opportunities in the final seven minutes and change of Thursday’s 5-4 loss to the Colorado Avalanche, who also got good news when they matched Calgary’s surprise offer-sheet to restricted free agent Ryan O’Reilly midway through the first period.

With the loss, the Flames fail — once again — to climb above the so-called .500 mark for the first time this season, with their record falling to 7-8-4. They were also leapfrogged in the Western Conference standings by the Avalanche (8-8-3).

Jay Bouwmeester and Michael Cammalleri scored in a 33-second span in the opening period, giving the Flames an early two-goal lead and perhaps giving the Avalanche a reminder that they really, really miss O’Reilly, their leading scorer from l